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Forecast: Experts consider AI to be manageable for a long time to come

It is the ultimate horror concept: an armada of robots programmed with Artificial Intelligence (AI) is getting out of control and declaring war on humanity. The machines are much more planned and well thought-out than any imaginable human army. In the end, all that remains for Homo Sapiens is surrender, escape from the earth or annihilation. Will AI remain controllable for humanity? From today's perspective, it will be manageable for a very long time, explains Reimund Neugebauer, President of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, in an interview with the editorial network Germany.

The controllability of AI is to be assessed similarly to the controllability of other complex technologies that function in a close interaction between human actors and technical components. "In my opinion, the term artificial intelligence is used too lightly," emphasizes the scientist. In this context, he refers to awareness-raising, in which AI systems can develop their own intentions. "We are still extremely far from real intelligence," says the expert.

In addition, it is mostly forgotten that simulated intelligence elements require an immense amount of energy. “For what we can cope with in terms of mental performance, with this insanely low level of energy in our body, they sometimes need small power plants behind them to reproduce this intellectual performance in AI.” In purely physical terms, that is a huge hurdle, explains Neugebauer. He is very reluctant to refer to artificially reproduced things as real intelligence.

However, Neugebauer does not want to categorically rule out the possibility of robots becoming uncontrollable. “I'm too much of a scientist to just rule things out.” Cars, airplanes and nuclear power plants could ultimately become uncontrollable, in the sense that they evade human control. In principle, humans and machines have complementary properties and complement each other. “Machines will expand our sphere of activity, but in all probability will not take the lead on their own initiative,” the scientist concluded. (ud)